Risks and Safety Concerns with Infant or Baby Car Seats

Infant car seats installed in rear facing position that come with 5-point harness system provide maximum safety to infants and new born babies. This position is no doubt the safest position for small babies, especially those weighing less than 20 pounds. Parents buying infant car seats should be aware of the safety features provides by infant baby car seats and also the risks involved if they use an infant carrier or baby car seat for their new born baby.

Why use Infant Car Seats?

Infant car seats are designed to provide safety and protection to your child, as well as convenience to the parents. Their special design allows you to move your new born baby in the vehicle giving peace of mind to parents. The special design of infant car seats and their rear facing installation ensures that your child gets maximum side impact protection and the energy absorbing foam used in the car seat lining helps reduce the severity of shocks from reaching the baby. Infant car seats have added head support as well as body support to protect the child’s head, torso and seating area. The angle at which infant car seats are installed in vehicles allows your baby to travel while lying. According to research carried out for infant deaths occurred in car accidents, children who are in sitting position are at greater risk of injury and death than if they were laying flat.

It is important to keep infants and new born babies in rear facing and laying position as that is most secure for the baby’s delicate neck. When a vehicle stops suddenly, like in an accident, anyone sitting inside the car will be pushed forward from the force. Although seat belts are designed to prevent this from happening, they do not restrain the head and shoulders to keep them back. A new born baby’s neck is very delicate and cannot support itself. If a baby is placed in forward facing position, a severe crash or sudden jerk can cause the baby’s head to snap forward, putting all the pressure on the baby’s neck. This pressure can pull the baby’s flexible vertebrae and ligaments apart, causing spinal cord injury, leading to paralysis and even death. When babies are placed in rear facing position, the whole body and head are actually pushed backwards, or towards the front of the car in case of an accident. This evenly distributes the intensity of the shock across the entire body of the baby instead of only on the neck.

Risks involved when using infant cars seats

Although infant car seats are designed to protect the child in even the most severe accidents, it is not wise to keep the child in an infant car seat for a longer period of time. Research shows that small babies and new born infants can suffer from restricted breathing when allowed to stay in an infant car seat for a longer period of time. According to the New Zealand Research carried in December 2000, doctors identified that babies under the age of 6 months may become blue and start breathing poorly if they are allowed to stay in the car seat for longer periods.

Some parents tend to keep the baby in the infant seat carrier after coming back home, by simply removing the carrier from its base in the vehicle and shifting the baby indoors. However, this is not a safe thing to do and parents should be careful enough to minimize the time their child spends in the seat itself. It should not be more than two hours, and the child should not be allowed to sleep in it when the carrier is taken out of the car. A larger cot or bed should be used instead, to make sure that the child has enough breathing space available. Similarly, parents should make sure that the child is lying as flat as possible in the seat so that the head does not fall forwards, which can cause the child to go in a scrunched up position. Infant car seats which meet safety standards such as the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard or the United Nations Regulations standard in Europe should be bought. These car seats meet all safety standards and ensure correct positioning of your baby.

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